President Trump intends to nominate Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton to fill the two vacant posts on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, according to a White House memo released to the press Thursday evening.
Both have been rumored to be candidates for the two open seats, with rumors about Shelton's candidacy inspiring an intense discussion over her reputation as a "gold bug" and opponent of liberal central bank monetary policies. In the past, she has advocated a return to the gold standard. She currently serves as the US director for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
and there it is. Trump nominates Shelton and Waller to Fed pic.twitter.com/x0KYr5Nq1V— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) January 16, 2020
Waller is currently the head of research at the St. Louis Fed, and a much less controversial pick. He was purportedly approached by the administration about filling the seat back in June.
Trump's picks to fill the vacancies on the Fed board have been enmeshed in controversy since last year, when Trump nominated Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the fill the posts, only to withdraw them in the face of controversy.
Waller (left), Shelton (right)
Just yesterday, President Trump intimated during ad libbed remarks at his trade-deal press conference that he wishes he had nominated former Fed governor Kevin Warsh to lead the Fed instead of Jay Powell, whom Trump has mercilessly bashed for having the audacity to raise interest rates.
It's possible that Trump following through with nominating Shelton - who was rumored to be a top pick for one of the empty Fed governor seats as early as last July - might spook markets, given her longtime opposition to the type of MMT-lite monetary policy that President Trump favors. Though we imagine Trump wouldn't nominate her unless she swears to uphold his vision for monetary policy.
Both picks must still be confirmed by the Senate.
Then again, if the price action from today and yesterday is any guide, there's almost nothing that can shake the market's singular focus on trade-deal optimism.